Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 key takeaways from Wolves in preseason

Head coach Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Head coach Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Taurean Prince
Taurean Prince of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves wrapped up preseason play with a solid 3-1 mark.

Yes, it feels good to have a winning record, even if the outcome of the games don’t matter whatsoever. But there’s plenty more to take from exhibition play beyond the record.

Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 key takeaways from Wolves in preseason

The Wolves went into preseason looking to get a better feel for their rotation, including trying various lineup combinations. This extended to the starting lineup, which was different every time out.

The key takeaways don’t stop there, however. From offensive tendencies to the new-look defensive scheme, there is plenty to talk about coming out of these four contests as the Wolves prepare for the regular-season opener on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets.

Takeaway No. 1: The Minnesota Timberwolves’ ever-changing starting lineup

The Timberwolves’ played four preseason games, and the starters were different every time out.

This was impacted slightly by D’Angelo Russell missing the final two games, but even without his absence, we saw changes at both forward spots.

The bet here at the start of preseason was that in addition to Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Anthony Edwards, the other two starters would be Malik Beasley and either Jarred Vanderbilt or Jaden McDaniels.

As it turns out, Josh Okogie also received a chance to crack the starting five. Beasley’s conditioning isn’t quite where it needs to be after a tumultuous offseason, and he didn’t start a single preseason contest, although his playing time ramped up late in preseason; Beasley saw the third-most minutes of any Wolves player in the finale against the Brooklyn Nets.

Wolves head coach Chris Finch hasn’t been shy about noting that Beasley will receive more opportunity with the second unit, which solves that portion of the equation.

That implies that Edwards will start at the 2 and both forward roles could be filled by McDaniels and Vanderbilt, although Taurean Prince is an option at both the 3 and the 4 as well. THere’s also the possibility of starting Patrick Beverley at the 2 with Edwards sliding to the 3 and Jordan McLaughlin seeing regular time as the primary backup at point guard.

Finch stated over the weekend that he’s open to playing matchups with the starting lineup, which makes a ton of sense. After all, whoever starts the games isn’t always who finishes it; there’s a difference between starting units and closing units.

So, at the end of the day, we’ve at least had it confirmed that there isn’t likely to be a regular starting five. Towns, Russell, and Edwards will always be part of it, but the likes of Vanderbilt, McDaniels, Okogie, Prince, Beasley, and Beverley will all have a shot at logging starts this season.